let it go….

Continuing with the saga of the nutty neighbor and his daily signage change, yesterday Mary’s significant other painted “Mary is a lie” on the roof, and staked a sign out in front that said “Mary eats evil.” Remember a few days ago, he had painted “Mary come home” on the side of his home, and posted a sign that said “Mary eats babies.” Earlier, I had talked about saying one thing, and actions depicting something else.

Today, I began contemplating control.

Not knowing this man, I am not certain of these things being true, but watching desperate pleadings followed by attack, followed again with another plea for his “love” to return, makes me believe he’s a bit of a controller. If you’re good at reading between the lines, faithful readers will have by now come to the realization that I am a bit of an expert when it comes to betrayal and abuse. Not to be dramatic, I just am. Being so, I’m a decent read, and this guy fits the MO like a glove.

Whatever Miss Mary did, it resulted in the majority of her things being thrown into a muddy front yard, followed by accusations of her stealing. Not so many weeks later, came the first (visible) notification of his desire to reconcile, with a sign painted in red and placed by the street, admonishing her return to their little castle. When she didn’t, the accusations began to flow again. You can almost feel the energy building as you drive by – the “romantic” plea that ends in disappointment is reacted to violently. Once the anger subsides, he tries again, only to find tension building again as he continues to be crushed by her decision to not give in to his demands. Being perfectly frank, I have been on both sides of this coin.

As a victim, I have watched as the abuser makes a request, sometimes one that is completely unattainable, only to be violently put back into my place. As a controller, I have struggled with what to do with my hurt and disappointment when the person I loved was not willing to give me what I felt my heart needed. (No…there have not been any crazy postings on my lawn).

At the end of the day, I think we all struggle to some extent with control. It’s hard to let other people be who they are when their values or goals don’t completely line up with ours. The art of loving freely is not part of who we are – it’s a process of learning, trusting, releasing and being completely self-sufficient when it comes to our identity and self-esteem.

Do you need to release someone today? Who is not giving you what you want right now? Have you been clear? Is it fair? Do you need to let it go… Sometimes, the old adage, “if you love them let them go,” is exactly what needs to happen before authentic relationship can begin.

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stringofpearls.

Do you ever wonder why relationships end? Struggle with how they end? If you could have, or should have, done something different? I do. One of the most painful and frustrating processes I have walked through is loss of loved ones. Whether it’s divorce, a friend, or family member…and regardless of if it is distance, misunderstanding, circumstances or betrayal…it is never an easy road to walk.

Recently I was talking with someone about this exact situation when I suddenly had a thought. He was saying he just didn’t understand why we were unraveling. Why the relationships were ending, in the light of prayer and attempts to reconcile, when it hit me.

Sometimes in order to shine and be set apart, we need to first be unraveled.

Occasionally I will find myself having to untangle  my jewelry, especially when I travel. Gold and silver chains get mysteriously twisted and tied up, to the extent that sometimes I have to completely unclasp them before they release their messy grip.

So it is with relationships sometimes. When we navigate life and purposefully move in the direction we feel called, our journey can sometimes become halted temporarily by entanglement with those closest to us. It gets complicated and it’s difficult to discern where we begin and where others dictate until we are no longer a single string of pearls but a knotted disaster. To the extent, that we lose sight of our originally intended beauty.

As I have slowly released some of the knots in my own life, I am beginning to more clearly see God’s original design for me. It’s really quite lovely. And the more I unravel, the more peaceful I find myself. No longer entangled in expectations, my vision for myself, and those around me, is becoming more clear.

What has you bound today? Or who? Is it you?? Do not fear in the letting go – it is in the letting go that clarity has her way. And that your design will shine through!

 

 

bugs

Two weeks ago as I was backing out of our garage, my Expedition died. Right there in the driveway. It choked, sputtered, and died. I interrupted my husband’s work call to let him know I would be driving the kids to school in his car, and we began navigating our busy lives with one car until we could get someone to come look at it (and payday arrived). Needless to say, with four kids, work, my volunteering and our entire lives rotating around a community that is 20 minutes away, it was an adventure.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I got one of the best gifts – aside from my precious little ones, of course – my car was fixed! When Chris drove up to pick us up from church in MY car, I was extremely excited (and relieved!).

It was a bug. A bug in an intake valve. That was a all – just $40 later and I was back on the road. This huge, beautiful, not-so-old vehicle was shut down by a teeny, tiny insect. Remarkable.

Sometimes we can find ourselves shutting down. Not working right. Life can come to a complete stop. Growth can be stunted. Sleep lost. And oftentimes, it is merely the result of little more than a tiny bump in the road; a little bug in the system.

The cool thing about the guy who came to fix the car yesterday is that he had a little computer that he hooked up to the car to determine where the issue was. A few, short, 40-some minutes later and she was running like a champ. What can sometimes feel like a huge obstacle to overcome can often be solved in the quiet, reflective moments. Creating margin to do a full spiritual diagnostic, and reflect on the core issues of a situation, might result in the simplest of solutions – without tearing apart the whole engine.

What bugs do you need to work out today? Do you have time for honest evaluation? It could literally take that broken down situation and get you back to full speed ahead in moments…

catalysts for change (and dress uniforms)

My 9-year-old wears a uniform for school. It’s definitely not one of her favorite things, to be sure (although I think she looks adorable). There are many compelling arguments in the use of uniforms, and testing scores and behavior patterns over the years have indicated a clear benefit to allowing students the freedom to focus on school and not on the more trivial juvenile complications such as socioeconomic status and competition during classroom hours.

All arguments are valid, however, and as I was sorting through the pro’s and con’s in my head this morning (yes, my brain really DOES run at ridiculous speeds at ALL times of the day; processing endless myriad topics…constantly…), I was thinking about how many different results can come from various schools of thought, parenting styles, work environments.

I can see where a child who always had to wear a uniform growing up might rebel and become a person who struggles with authority and boundaries. Similarly, a person who came from the lower echelons of society, might have faced ridicule for their not-so-trendy duds and struggle with insecurities and an inability to fit in to a social environment. Every atmosphere presents varied opportunities for each person, largely dependent more on their personality, faith, and upbringing, than on the environment itself.

So, this is where I want to take the conversation – what if we are each called to very specific destinies by God? The bible says that He works “all things to good, for those who love Him.” If this is the case, we can trust that whatever situation, family, or desert, we are placed in, we can be assured that we will grow into the person we are called to be, if we focus on His Word and promises. Surely, then, no matter how great the pain, or deep the loss…how mixed up or misused, we’ve been…whatever mountain we’ve climbed or valley we currently live in…It WILL come around and become of benefit to us, if we choose to walk in faith and speak life and hope over our lives.

I remember a poignant conversation I had years ago with a very dear friend. Struggling with some family-of-origin issues, she was graciously listening as I vented, cried and expressed my sheer frustration for what I perceived to be some missed opportunities for growth and healthy development. After a while, she looked at me straight in my eyes and shared something that I didn’t like at the time, but what came to be a comforting blanket every time I faced a familiar or painful situation.

“You were given the parents you were, to become the person you were designed to be.”

Much of life is hard. And sometimes feels extremely complicated. But at its core, we primarily function from one of two positions: Fear or Faith.

While never easy, it’s often quite simple. Our perspective is ours, and we get to do with it what we want. Even the most tragic of stories can end in triumph, depending on the perspective that prevails in the darkest of nights.

Regardless of what we are given – freedom or bondage – the end of the story is more about what we do with it all. If your uniform is confining, add a little bling. If you have no safe parameters and life seems out of control, try putting some boundaries and clear parameters into place. Wherever you are right now, your positioning can always change.

And, it just might be the catalyst for change you were looking for all along.